The impact energy metabolism and genome maintenance have on longevity and senescence: Lessons from yeast to mammals

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20 Scopus citations


The phenomenon that caloric restriction increases life span in a variety of species from yeast to mice has been the focus of much interest. Recent observations suggest that a protein important for heterochromatin formation, Sir2, is central for caloric restriction-induced longevity in lower organisms. Interestingly, Sir2 is also capable of repairing DNA double-strand breaks by nonhomologous end joining which may be important, along with proteins that repair breaks by recombinational repair, for minimizing the age-related deleterious effects of DNA damage induced by oxygen by-products of metabolism. I propose that competition between these two distinct functions could influence longevity and the onset of senescence. In addition, sequence and functional similarities between Sir2 and other chromatin metabolism proteins present the possibility that genetic components for longevity and senescence are conserved from yeast to mammals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1651-1662
Number of pages12
JournalMechanisms of Ageing and Development
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2001



  • Longevity
  • Natural selection
  • Senescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Developmental Biology

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